- Kirsten Dunst has been acting since she was 3 years old.
- Insider is looking back on her incredible career on the big screen.
- Below is our ranking of all 40 of her films.
- Her worst movie? “Greedy.”
- Her best? “Melancholia.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Kirsten Dunst has recently turned to TV and found great success there. She was nominated for an Emmy for “Fargo” in 2016 and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” in 2020.
That said, we will never forget her work on the big screen.
We have watched Dunst literally grow up in front of our eyes at the movies, as she began her acting career at the age of 3 years old. Through the years we’ve watched her talent build, from memorable roles in “Interview with the Vampire” and “Jumanji” to watching her star in mega-hits like “Bring It On” and the “Spider-Man” trilogy.
As Dunst celebrates her birthday on Monday, here we look back on her movie career to this point and rank them all.
40. “Greedy” (1994)
In the same year Dunst wowed audiences with her breakout performance in “Interview with the Vampire,” she starred in this forgettable ensemble comedy that also starred Kirk Douglas, Michael J. Fox, and Phil Hartman.
39. “Levity” (2003)
Dunst plays a troubled woman who encounters a shoulder-length-haired Billy Bob Thornton, who has spent the last two decades in jail and is now out on parole. No reason to be bummed out if you missed this one.
38. “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (1990)
Dunst’s first major role was Brian De Palma’s adaptation of the Tom Wolfe novel. She played the daughter of the lead character, Wall Street hotshot Sherman McCoy (played by Tom Hanks).
Dunst was likely unaware of it at the time, but she was witness to one of the biggest box office disasters in the history of the movies.
37. “The Crow: Salvation” (2000)
This is the third movie in “The Crow” franchise (yes, there was more than one movie), and even with Dunst in the movie, it didn’t get much love as it got the dreaded direct-to-video release.
36. “Get Over It” (2001)
This movie was released a year after the success of “Bring It On.” In “Get Over It,” Dunst is once again playing a high schooler, but this movie did not get a positive audience response. And for good reason.
Though it has stars on the rise like Ben Foster, Colin Hanks, Zoe Saldana, and Mila Kunis (Mr. “Thong Song” himself, Sisqó, is even in this), nothing could help this disaster.
35. “Luckytown” (2000)
Another straight-to-video title in Dunst’s filmography. Here she plays a teen who sets out to find her estranged father (played by James Caan).
34. “Mother Night” (1996)
Dunst certainly didn’t shy away as a child star from movies with difficult subjects. This forgotten adaptation of the Kurt Vonnegut novel set in Nazi Germany stars Nick Nolte and features Dunst in a small role in which she holds her own across Nolte.
33. “Strike!” (1998)
This ensemble features Dunst as part of a group of friends at an all-girls school who come up with a plan to sabotage the school’s deal to merge with a local boys’ school. Gaby Hoffmann, Rachael Leigh Cook, and Lynn Redgrave also star.
You may know this movie by another name: The project actually was retitled a few times: “The Hairy Bird” and “All I Wanna Do.”
32. “Anastasia” (1997)
Though Meg Ryan was the voice of Anastasia in the movie, Dunst took on voicing the role when she’s younger (but she did not belt out the notes when the character sang, that was “Mean Girls” star Lacey Chabert).
31. “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” (2008)
Dunst has always had a talent with comedic movies, either being the jokester or playing it straight, and there are impressive glimpses of the latter here (despite the watered-down rom-com feel).
30. “Elizabethtown” (2005)
Speaking of rom-coms (with some drama sprinkled in), Dunst stars opposite Orlando Bloom in this Cameron Crowe movie that isn’t as bad as the critics portrayed it when it was released.
29. “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” and “The Bling Ring” cameos (2013)
By 2013, Dunst was a bonafide global star, and it showed when in two movies out that year all she had to do was show up on screen to get the audience’s reaction.
In “Anchorman 2” she appears as a Greek Siren who begins the news team battle with a trumpet blow. And in “The Bling Ring,” she pops up in friend Sophia Coppola’s movie in a scene at a club.
28. “Little Women” (1994)
Dunst delivers a great portrayal of young Amy March in this adaptation of the classic novel that also starred Winona Ryder, Christian Bale, Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon, and Gabriel Byrne.
27. “Upside Down” (2012)
This mind-bending romance movie follows Dunst as she tries to find her teen love 10 years later, though they live on two different planets that orbit each other.
26. “Small Soldiers” (1998)
Three years after running away from animals on the loose in “Jumanji,” Dunst runs away from toys in “Small Soldiers.” It’s still a lot of fun all these years later.
25. “Midnight Special” (2016)
Indie film hitmaker Jeff Nichols (“Take Shelter,” “Mud”) gets a studio on board for this movie about a boy with special powers. Dunst gives a stoic performance as the boy’s mother.
24. “Spider-Man 3” (2007)
The closeout of the Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst Spider-Man era has Dunst’s Mary Jane competing with Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) for Peter Parker’s love.
As with most finales of a trilogy, everyone seems over the whole thing, especially Dunst and Maguire.
23. “The Cat’s Meow” (2001)
Dunst turns into director Peter Bogdanovich’s muse for this movie where she plays William Randolph Hearst’s wife, the legendary Marion Davies.
22. “All Good Things” (2010)
Dunst plays a wife again, but things are very different for her in this role. Here she plays Katie Marks, who disappears in 1982 and her husband, David (Ryan Gosling), is the main suspect.
The story is loosely based on the disappearance of Kathleen McCormack, wife of Robert Durst, whose life would be given national attention in the 2015 HBO doc, “The Jinx.”
21. “Woodshock” (2017)
If you are into very dark and troubled Dunst characters, then this is definitely one to check out.
Here, she plays a woman who while coping with the loss of her mother turns to a powerful hallucinogenic drug.
20. “Wimbledon” (2004)
A rom-com set in the world of tennis. Dunst plays an up-and-comer, Paul Bettany is the fading star. Dunst shines in a movie that for the most part is forgettable.
19. “On the Road” (2012)
This adaptation of the legendary Jack Kerouac novel is filled with an all-star cast (Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund), and Dunst is among them as she plays Camille, the wife of the Dean character (Hedlund).
18. “Mona Lisa Smile” (2003)
Dunst shines amongst her peers in this movie that also stars Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Ginnifer Goodwin. They play a group of friends at the all-women’s college Wellesley who bond with a new free-thinking art professor (Julia Roberts).
17. “Spider-Man 2” (2004)
Considered by some to be one of the better superhero movies ever made, Dunst plays Mary Jane perfectly.
16. “Hidden Figures” (2016)
Dunst is great as the ice-cold Vivian, who gives Katherine (Taraji P. Henson) and Dorothy (Octavia Spencer) a hard time through their rise up the ranks during the early days of the space program at NASA.
15. “The Two Faces of January” (2014)
Dunst shines in this tense thriller that also stars Viggo Mortensen and a baby-faced Oscar Isaac.
14. “Wag the Dog” (1997)
This is one of the best political satires ever made. In one of its most surreal moments, the spin-doctor (Robert De Niro) and Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) enlisted to cover up the president’s sex scandal, manufacture a war and cast a young Dunst to play a fake casualty of their fake war.
13. “Jumanji” (1995)
In the original movie, starring Robin Williams as a boy who has spent his life trapped in a magical board game, Dunst stars as one of the kids who get him out and must finish the game with him.
12. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)
In Michel Gondry’s extremely creative love story he casts Dunst as the receptionist of a company that erases memories. She eventually realises that her boss erased her memories of their affair.
Dunst is part of an incredible cast that includes Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, and Elijah Wood.
11. “Spider-Man” (2002)
It’s the movie that made Dunst a worldwide star. As Mary Jane Watson, Dunst gave the character a strong will as well as a welcoming vibe that sucked in not just Peter Parker but the audience.
And then there’s that upside-down kiss that became an iconic moment in movies.
10. “Interview with the Vampire” (1994)
Dunst would earn a Golden Globes nomination at the age of 12 for her performance as the undead child Claudia. Even as a pre-teen, she showed she could hold her own opposite huge stars like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
9. “The Beguiled” (2017)
In Dunst’s latest team-up with her constant collaborator, Sofia Coppola, she fights for the affection of Colin Farrell in Civil War-set Virginia alongside Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning.
8. “Bachelorette” (2012)
Here Dunst gives a fantastic performance as the controlling friend in a group of women who are about to be bachelorettes for their friend’s wedding.
7. “Marie Antoinette” (2006)
Though critics were very mixed on Sofia Coppola’s biopic of France’s infamous queen, the casting of Dunst in the role was perfect as the teen ruler.
6. “Dick” (1999)
Dunst teams up with Michelle Williams and is incredibly funny in this silly farce on what brought down Richard Nixon.
Plus, character actor Dan Hedaya is great as the disgraced president.
5. “Drop Dead Gorgeous” (1999)
This great fake documentary follows a group of young women (and their crazed mothers) who are competing at a beauty pageant.
In the same year that she came out with “Dick,” Dunst once more shows off her comedy skills in a big way.
4. “The Virgin Suicides” (1999)
1999 was a really good year for Dunst. Along with starring in two great (but very different) comedies, she also was the object of affection to a group of teen boys in Coppola’s feature directing debut.
3. “Crazy/Beautiful” (2001)
This extremely underrated romantic drama stars Jay Hernandez as a poor kid who falls for a troubled girl (Dunst) from the well-off side of town. This is the movie that made everyone take her seriously as an actress.
2. “Bring It On” (2000)
This is the movie that stopped everyone from thinking of Dunst as a child actor.
Dunst plays the captain of a champion cheerleading squad who must rework all their routines after it comes to light they were stolen from a rival high school. Her mix of comedic timing and all-out seriousness for the silly dramatic moments made Dunst’s performance iconic and the movie a classic.
1. “Melancholia” (2011)
In Lars von Trier’s arty end-of-the-world movie, Dunst delivers the best performance of her career, to date.
A big reason is her scenes opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg, who plays her sister. The two feed off one another and it leads to them both raising their games.
Addressing issues of mortality, family, and living life to the fullest, we follow Dunst’s character to literally the end of times. She is riveting to watch.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.